Content Marketing: What Is It and Why It Works

© Kydriashka | Dreamstime.com
 © Kydriashka | Dreamstime.com
© Kydriashka | Dreamstime.com

Content marketing is a relatively new “buzz” term, and if you are having a difficult time  grasping exactly what it is and why it works, you aren’t alone. Even content marketing gurus differ in how to define content marketing, as seen here in this Vertical Measures free downloadable guide.

To make it a bit more complicated, content marketing includes a variety of formats, making it even harder to wrap your head around the term –  but for a copywriter, like me, it is also why I love content marketing!

What is content marketing?

Wikipedia defines content marketing as “any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.”

Here’s the definition I use: Content marketing is a powerful means of connecting with your audience in an informative, non-sales-y fashion. Unlike traditional marketing that is interruption-based, content marketing is ongoing and open-ended. It creates dialogue and engagement with your audience that results in stronger relationships and loyal customers. This ultimately helps you grow your business and achieve your goals.

In order for content marketing to be most effective, you must be passionate, show your personality and share valuable knowledge (Source: Smarter, Faster, Cheaper by David Siteman Garland, pg 22).

As previous mentioned, content marketing includes on a variety of formats. Some that contractors are using include :

  • blog posts
  • emails
  • info-graphics
  • website content
  • Tweets, Facebook posts and other short blurbs on social media
  • e-books
  • newsletters (both print and electronic)
  • webinars
  • podcasts
  • videos
  • consumer guides and checklists
  • customer success stories / case studies
  • white papers

Conversely, here are some traditional construction advertising examples:

  • Real estate ads for new home developments and communities
  • Television ads
  • Radio ads
  • Yellow Pages ads
  • Magazine ads
  • Direct mail
  • Billboards
  • Door hangers or other neighborhood-canvasing materials / flyers

Why content marketing works.

Content marketing is much different than “traditional marketing” because the focus isn’t on selling. Instead, the focus is on communicating with your customers.

This is a huge (and often challenging) shift in how we, as businesses,  advertise today. Instead of forcing a message AT your customer, you are talking with them, getting to know them and developing personal relationships with them, and as a result, you are creating a stronger, more loyal, connection with them.

And we all know that  people want to do business with those they know, like and trust.

“Specifically, creating content as a cornerstone of your marketing can

  • Attract customers
  • Educate your buyers about a purchase they are considering.

  • Overcome resistance or address objections.
  • Establish your credibility, trust, and authority in your industry.
  • Tell your story
  • Build buzz via social media
  • Build a base of fans and inspire customers to love you.
  • Inspire impulse buys”

(Source: Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business,” by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman; page 8)

Content marketing is a continual conversation with your audience. Because you are focused on sharing valuable information (and not pushing the sale), you are also building credibility and trust.

This means when it comes time for your prospect to turn into a customer, there is less apprehension and negotiation. Instead, by the time they contact you, they are pre-sold. They’ve already done their research and want to hire YOU. Now it is time to set up the appointment to outline the details of their kitchen remodel project … and get to work.

This is why content marketing works, and why, if you haven’t already developed your content marketing plan, you are going to continue to lose more and more business to your competition.

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